METTA HOUR PODCAST • Episode 194 • Andrés González, Ali & Atman Smith

Sharon welcomes friends and colleagues Andrés González and brothers Ali and Atman Smith back to the Metta Hour Podcast for Episode 194 to celebrate the release of their first book, “Let Your Light Shine.” Together Ali, Atman, and Andrés are the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization bringing yoga, meditation, and breath-work to thousands of at-risk kids in Baltimore schools since 2001. Their work has received wide national attention due to their remarkable results in public schools where suspension rates plummet, and graduation rates skyrocket. Outside of their work with the Holistic Life Foundation, Atman, Andrés and Ali also teach to diverse populations around the world, including drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, as well as Yoga, Wellness, and Mindfulness Festivals. Their work has been featured in Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS, The Washington Post, Upworthy, and many more. In this conversation, Andrés, Atman, Ali, and Sharon speak about:

• The origins of “The Light Within” over a decade ago
• Growing up as black and brown skinned men
• How institutional racism has affected their lives
• The influence of their elders’ involvement in the civil rights movement
• Growing up in one of the most violent neighborhoods in America
• Moving from partying in college to spiritual practice
• Overcoming our cultural and familial conditioning
• Awareness practices to access inner peace amid outer turmoil
• Mantra Yoga Practice
• Mantras as cheat codes in life
• Some of Sharon’s personal mantras
• The guidance of their teacher to create more teachers
• HLF’s reciprocal teaching model
• How the love of Bhakti Yoga is intertwined in their teachings
• It all starts with self-love and self-worth
• Love doesn’t dictate certain behaviors
• The challenges of love as a spiritual path
• How their work has become trauma-informed
• The impact of meeting Bessel van der Kolk
• How to start and end your day in the light

To finish the episode, Ali leads a guided meditation to bring the conversation to a close. To learn more about Ali, Andrés and Atman’s work, visit and get a copy of their book, “Let Your Light Shine,” available October 18th, 2022, in hardcover, eBook and audiobook formats.

Listen to the previous two appearances of Atman, Ali, and Andrés on the Metta Hour on Episode 52, released in 2017, and Episode 40 from 2016.


About The Metta Hour

Sharon’s Metta Hour Podcast features Buddhist wisdom for everyday life. With over five million downloads, Sharon’s wisdom and humor translate these ancient teachings, making them instantly accessible. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes for regular episodes. Make a donation to support the continuation of these podcasts.